August 9, 2012 by Isa
Bill Beardslee moved to Miami three years ago, whereas Greg and Isa are completely new to the city. As promised, they will tell you if their expectations as newcomers were met – this week, though, you’ll get Bill’s perspective.
Bill, you’ve lived in Atlanta, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston, and Rochester, NY. How was coming to Miami different from living in these cities?
Well, Miami is different in virtually every dimension from any other city I’ve lived in. Just a few examples of what struck me as different when I first arrived here: the way in which you greet a woman, how the air smells, different bugs and trees, very little weather variation, a broad mix of languages spoken…
Which of these left the strongest impression on you in the first few months?
I don’t think any of the above aspects are huge differences in themselves. But if you put them together, combined they really make for a dramatic contrast to any other location in the US.
Was it hard to settle into this new environment?
Well, not really. It’s quite easy to get into vacation mode here, at least in the beginning. This is, after all, where a lot of folks come to relax. But there are a ton of non-vacation activities in southeastern Florida. That made it easier for me to adapt to my new home.
After living here for a while now, what would you say are Miami’s main selling points?
It’s definitely the breadth of outdoor activities from which you can choose. You can just go outdoors and hike or bike at almost any point throughout the year, since it’s almost always warm. Then, of course, Miami is between the Atlantic and the Everglades. So fishing and swimming are always an option, too. If you like travelling, Miami is conveniently located for travel to Central and South America. The plane trip to Costa Rica is shorter than to Boston.
What are Miami’s downsides – are there things you don’t like about the city?
Well, there’s a flipside to everything I’ve just said: for example, there is a lack of seasonal change…it is either hot or warm here. And, despite its central location to the Central and Southern Americas, Miami is quite far from the US West coast.
You have three kids. What do you think makes Miami a great place for kids to live?
The mix of cultures is greater than in any other city, primarily because of the influx of Central and South Americans as well as folks from the Carribbean. There’s a diverse cultural base, and this is wonderful for kids, because they are exposed to different cultures, languages and religions. They quickly learn that the world is a very small place.
I somehow imagined that Miami or Florida in general would be a bit weird or quirky. What’s the weirdest thing that have happened to you in the years you’ve lived here? Any surprising encounters?
Well, one thing that surprised me is that I felt that I was going to be seeing a lot of retirees and old people. You know, stuck driving 20 mph behind an old Cadillac. But there are fewer retirees here than north of Boston, where I lived before moving to Miami! So that cliché definitely isn’t true.